Tactical urbanism tip #6: Roadway Art

The Land Transport Rule “Traffic Control Devices (2004)” has recently been updated to allow street art within the roadway, termed “roadway art”.

The rule states:  

A road controlling authority may install any marking on a roadway (roadway art) if the roadway art: 

  1. is installed in a lower risk environment; and
  2. does not resemble and is not similar to a marking described in this Rule; and
  3. does not mislead road users about the meaning of any traffic control device; and
  4. is not part of or visually integrated into a marking specified in Schedule 2.
tactical urbanism crossing

Abley led the development of guidance for applying roadway art in NZ, the guidance is available from Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency.   

Key takeaways from this guidance include: 

  • Lower risk environment: Roadway art should be implemented where there is evidence of a lower risk environment. If operating speeds are not already 30km/h or less, roadway art should be implemented alongside a suite of interventions aimed at achieving operating speeds of 30km/h or less. 
  • Legibility: Roadway art design should reinforce the place value of an area and ensure priority in the roadway is legible, including avoiding interacting with or resembling official road markings.
  • Maintenance: Maintenance should be considered as part of design, e.g. a templated/stencilled design will be easier to reinstate or touch up, what is your maintenance plan? 
  • Materials: Materials used to implement roadway art should consider intervention duration and skid resistance.
  • Iwi engagement: Roadway art is an opportunity to celebrate local culture and values, local iwi representatives should be engaged at a project’s inception phase. 
  • High risk community groups: Roadway art can negatively impact some groups of the community through feeling confused or less safe using a space. Examples of these groups include people with learning disabilities, people with neurodiversity such as autistic people, people with mild cognitive impairment, brain injury, or cognitive decline such as Alzheimers disease and children and their caregiversEarly engagement with local representatives of these groups is recommended. 

The changes to the Traffic Control Devices rule present an exciting opportunity for how we design our lower risk environmentsIf you’re interested in finding out more about Tactical Urbanism or discussing ideas about this with one of our team members, contact Jeanette Ward.